Creature Comforts vs. Critical Engine Operation
There are two different systems cooling totally different things in your vehicle. They are
- The air conditioning system, and
- The cooling system
These two systems are commonly confused, so we’re here to share the difference.
And really, it’s the difference between creature comforts and optimal engine operation.
First up, the air conditioning system
This is the program that cools the human beings and the pets sitting on the seats and floor after a long play session down on Alki. You flip it on, direct the vents onto yourself & all of the passengers and you breathe a sigh of relief as the vented air cools you down.
Usually, on hot days (yes, even in West Seattle) it can’t get cold enough, fast enough, for everyone in the car.
This is also the system you use on hot days, when you’ve gone to the store and have a gallon of ice cream. You put the bags in the passenger side on the floor and turn on the vents to get the air conditioning blowing there too.
Then you have your cooling system
This is the system that cools your car. We’re talking about the engine, the radiator and many systems throughout your vehicle that need continual regulation and cooling.
If you have a cooling system problem it can be catastrophic. If your air conditioning system isn’t cooling your body, you might not be very happy about it but you’re not going to melt, you will just have to roll the windows down.
If your coolant light comes on or your temperature gauge is at “hot”, please pull over and turn off your vehicle.
If you continue to drive you could do a lot more damage than has already been done. When in doubt, it’s always best to tow your vehicle to our shop than to risk driving and causing more damage.
You can always have your car towed or brought over to us here at Tom’s Automotive Service in West Seattle. Call to let us know you’re coming: (206) 937-1144.